Gethin Jones is hoping to use his experience on loan at Barnsley as a platform to impress Ronald Koeman and his technical staff.
After helping David Unsworth’s Under-23s get off to a flyer in the Premier League 2, the former Wales Under-21s captain spent the second half of the campaign on loan in the Championship, making a total of 18 appearances for the Tykes.
Full-back Jones, who returned to Merseyside just in time to be part of the young Blues’ final game of the 2016/17 season and trophy lift at Goodison Park earlier this month, is now aiming to use a successful 12 months as a platform to build on.
“I’ve been really happy with how everything has gone this season,” Jones told evertonfc.com. “I started the season well with the Under-23s and we were doing well, then to get out on loan to a Championship club in Barnsley was fantastic. I got the chance to play against some high-quality teams which was great experience for me. It gave me chance to go to some big stadiums and play in front of big crowds in high-pressure environments - that can only be a good thing for me.
“It’s something I need to take forward now, coming back here to Everton. I just want to work hard, take all the experiences and lessons I’ve learned from being out on loan and hopefully try to impress.
“It felt really good to come back here and play at Goodison Park. I got a call from Unsy the day before because I didn’t play in Barnsley’s last game. As soon as I knew there was a chance of playing, I jumped at it. It was a great game in front of a big crowd. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the result but we lifted the title and, of course, that was a special moment for us.”
Naturally right-footed, Jones also adapted to playing left-back during his temporary spell in Yorkshire.
He was asked by Under-23s coach Unsworth to switch between the right and left flanks upon his return - and the young defender says he is now comfortable adapting to either role.
“I have played a few games at left-back and that’s helped me, too,” added Jones. “We switched the full-backs a few times against Liverpool and I’m happy to do that. There are things to learn when you switch sides but I feel like I’m used to it now.”